To begin with, a few weeks ago, the phone rang in Bambi’s office. It was a very competent and nice lady calling from her Alma Mater in Montreal asking for donations. Bambi listened carefully to the description of what looks like an outstanding graduate program. Before agreeing to encourage it and support students, she asked the lady the following: “May I ask you a non-politically correct question?” After a positive answer, she asked whether this program is as described. She meant based on scientific criteria and strictly on the trainees’ merit; in other terms without any identity-based contamination by what is commonly called DEI or “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion”? She was assured that it is not. Thus, she made a donation, which will be repeated yearly for the next three years; with a possibility of suspension, if needed. Bambi will keep tracking this program to ensure that it will not change its mission by becoming obsessed with identity (race, gender, religion, etc.). Bravo to her Alma Mater for this wonderful Master’s Program and the future graduate students who will benefit from it. Bambi is honoured to contribute her support!
Bearing the above in mind, this week a dear friend informed Bambi of a courageous decision by an American Politician, called Mr. DeSantis, to defund DEI programs at Florida public colleges. Bambi thought to herself: wow, never heard of this politician before, but he seems like her hero now (https://rb.gy/88rgv), given her shared concern.
Unfortunately, the obsession with identity is widespread, beyond North America. Just take a look at the first eligibility criterion (in bold below) used by the “Stuart Ross Communications Internship” in the UK, thanks to Louis for sharing (https://rb.gy/xmj0g):
“What you’ll need
- You must be of Black, Asian and minority ethnic background, defined as having some African, Afro-Caribbean, Asian or other non-white heritage
- Either an undergraduate or recent graduate on track to receive, or have already achieved, a 2:2 in any degree
- Or be a non-graduate with no more than one year’s paid experience in the communications industry such as public relations, public affairs, marketing, stakeholder engagement, media, or other related fields”.
If the first criterion shown above is not racism, what is it then? And why should it matter in a bursary program meant to “learn the essential skills you need to start your career in industries like public relations, public affairs or marketing environment“?
This program, which lasts “11 months” (“a bursary of £21,824 (reviewed in line with London Living Wage)“], looks excellent otherwise, if we exclude the first race-based discrimination against potential candidates of so-called “white heritage“. Indeed, the program is tailored to all the groups described in the list above, which ends the terms “or other non-white heritage“. The salary [“a bursary of £21,824 (reviewed in line with London Living Wage)“].
Of note, it is precisely programs like the “Stuart Ross Communications Internship” that Bambi wanted to make sure she is not financing and thus encouraging. When will go back to what matters the most in education and in business (or scientific or artistic) training: MERIT, period?!
Related to the above, what message are we giving to those described as being “with a non-white heritage“? They are not clever enough to compete? And what about those who are of so-called “white heritage“? They are not welcome?
Again, why are we resorting to identity-politics in education and in business training, even if the underlying motivation may be truly noble (i.e. wanting to be more “inclusive”… maybe with some, but sadly while “excluding” others). Bambi is against such divisive language in scholarships, regardless of the target group which is being excluded. It is a question of principle: Identity politics does not have its place in bursaries. Despite any apparent good intention, such discriminatory initiatives can eventually create social and industrial tensions. Why are we playing with the fire?